Between family gatherings, barbeques, chores around the house and travel, it's a good bet that you've missed some baseball developments from the past several days. To sum it up briefly, the Red Sox took two of three from the Yankees, including a 17-run barrage Saturday. You'll want to check Edgar Renteria's stats while you were gone. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Cubs fans took another one on the chin with the loss of Mark Prior, but the trade of LaTroy Hawkins has drawn mixed reactions on the North Side of Chicago. And those bemoaning Aramis Ramirez's production will love the fact that he homered for the third straight game Monday. On the other side of town, White Sox fans celebrated the return of Frank Thomas to the lineup.
There's plenty more to talk about on the fantasy radar. Let's get inside Fantasy Baseball This Week .
- The pain and misery of what was supposed to be the year of the Cubs continued over the weekend when Mark Prior was hit in the arm with a line drive and fractured his right elbow. He'll miss a minimum of two months. The media has now labeled him as injury-prone, a charge which Prior protests. One thing is certain. Fantasy owners don't care how he got there; a trip to the DL is a trip to the DL.
- The A's activated Bobby Crosby from the DL in time for Monday's game against Tampa Bay. Oakland can use the shot in the arm that the reigning AL Rookie of the Year should bring to the slumping offense. They rank last in the majors in home runs and second-to-last in runs and batting average.
- John Patterson will rejoin the Nationals for Tuesday's game against Atlanta. He'll get the start after recovering from back spasms. Also in Washington, Jose Vidro expects to remove his walking boot in two weeks in anticipation of a return after the All-Star break.
- The White Sox welcomed back Frank Thomas for their Memorial Day tilt against Anaheim. He went 0-for-2 with a run scored before leaving with a hip flexor injury. Thomas is listed as day-to-day and makes for a solid gamble for teams in need of some pop.
- Guillermo Mota returned to the Marlins over the weekend and allowed one run on a hit and two walks in his first inning of work. He left without pain, so it's just a matter of time before he reclaims the closer role from Todd Jones.
- Troy Percival threw 35 pitches in a bullpen session Sunday and felt no lingering effects from his forearm injury. He should be back in uniform for the Tigers in the next two weeks. Ugueth Urbina has been stellar in his absence, so there's no need to rush him back.
- The Reds activated Rich Aurilia on Sunday for those teams in dire need of help in the middle infield. Of course, if you're looking to claim a sub-.200 hitter with three homers and 12 RBIs, you must be in a bad way or in a league with very deep rosters.
- Joe Mauer of the Twins has missed four straight games with a strained groin, with Mike Redmond taking his place in the lineup. There's a good chance that Mauer will hit the DL if he's unable to go Tuesday.
- Updating a story from last week, it appears that fantasy owners will get Brandon Lyon back in their lineup sooner than feared. Lyon will not need reconstructive surgery after all and should be available to the Diamondbacks and fantasy rosters in about a month. Brian Bruney and Jose Valverde will split the work in the pen until Lyon's return.
- Shannon Stewart, OF, Min: Stewart has been on fire for virtually the entire month of May, hitting .327 with seven homers and 16 RBIs. He's hit safely in nine of his past 11 games with four HRs and seven RBIs.
- Chris Young, SP, Tex: Young has won his past two starts, defeating the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox. His eight innings with one earned run against Chicago prompted fantasy owners to hit the waiver wire hard. It was his seventh straight start of allowing two or fewer earned runs.
- Kyle Davies, SP, Atl: The Braves appear to have developed another gem in the 21-year old righty. He won his first two starts, allowing zero earned runs over 10.1 innings while striking out 12. Davies took the loss Monday but allowed only two earned runs in 5.1 innings.
- Rob Mackowiak, 2B/3B/OF, Pit: Mackowiak has been on a month-long tear, hitting .424 in May with three homers and 15 RBIs. His versatility allows him to find regular at-bats in the Pittsburgh lineup and offers a solid plug-in to fantasy lineups.
- Adam Bernero, RP, Atl: It looked like Bernero was going to take the closer role for the Braves about two weeks ago when Danny Kolb was demoted. Now Kolb, John Foster and Chris Reitsma are all in the picture to close games for the Braves. That's leading to a mass Bernero dump.
- Tyler Walker, RP, SF: The Giants' trade for LaTroy Hawkins and three straight bad outings by Walker have led to speculation that his days as the closer are done. Owners are diving off in droves.
- Mark Loretta, 2B, SD: I know he hasn't been on the field since May 17, but owners have suddenly lost the desire to retain Loretta on their bench in a DL spot for two months. They're looking to Ryan Freel, Rob Mackowiak and Felipe Lopez for help in the middle infield.
- Paul Lo Duca, C, Fla: He's hitless in his past 24 at-bats and is nursing a bruised left elbow. Managers are reaching out to A.J. Pierzynski and Yadier Molina to replace him.
PICKUP OF THE WEEK
Aaron Hill, DH (soon to be 3B)
He's one game away from picking up 3B eligibility. Since he joined the Blue Jays, all this guy has done is rake the ball. He's hit safely in eight of nine games with five multi-hit outings and 10 RBIs.
DROP OF THE WEEK
Carl Everett, CWS, OF, DH
Everett now becomes part of an outfield and DH platoon with the return of Frank Thomas. He'll likely see irregular at-bats going forward, and his 3-for-22 run this past week doesn't help his cause.
HOT AND COLD
Rafael Furcal, SS, Atl: It took him awhile, but Furcal has finally joined the party. In the past week, he's hit .375 with five runs, six RBIs and eight stolen bases.
Josh Phelps, 1B, Tam: Alas, he no longer has catcher eligibility, but he's finally starting to hit with some power. Phelps has launched three homers this week and knocked in seven.
Bill Hall, 2B, 3B, SS, Mil: Hall offers great flexibility for fantasy owners with his three-position eligibility. This week, he hit two homers, drove in eight runs, hit .391 and stole two bases to boot.
Glendon Rusch, SP, ChC: Rusch provided a nice boost to the Cubs' rotation this past week, getting deep into both starts and taking care of business against Houston and Colorado. He allowed just two earned runs over 15 innings and struck out 10.
Antonio Perez, 3B, SS, LAD: Perez put together four straight multi-hit games this past week, including a four-hit performance and his first HR of the year at San Francisco.
Jon Garland, SP, CWS: After his 8-0 start, Garland has lost two straight (6.92 ERA and 1.69 WHIP). His first loss was due largely to a botched play at third base, but he was victimized by a big Rangers inning in his last outing. My mailbox is filled with questions about trade options and some looking to release him outright. He'll look to get right against Cleveland this weekend.
Russ Ortiz, SP, Ari: Ortiz has lost two straight, allowing nine earned runs in his past 9.1 innings. As always, the walks are killing him (11 to go with 16 hits in those starts).
Adrian Beltre, 3B, Sea: I've received several letters from owners who have decided to just cut Beltre loose. Others are desperately accepting any trade offers that come their way. He hit .208 with one run scored this past week with no homers or RBIs.
Aubrey Huff, 1B, 3B, OF, Tam: Huff finally hit his first homer in 32 games, ending a drought of 114 at-bats. Unfortunately, he coupled that with only one other hit this past week.
Jack Wilson, SS, Pit: Wilson has tallied just one RBI in his past 17 games and his average continues to hover around the Mendoza line.
Derrek Lee, ChC, 1B
Why he's being dealt: Lee has absolutely carried fantasy teams through the first two months, contributing in all categories. Owners are commanding top dollar for his services.
What you're getting: One recent deal involving Lee saw him exchanged for a package of Todd Helton, Bruce Chen and Cliff Lee. Another deal for Lee returned A.J. Burnett and Jason Schmidt. One curious deal saw Lee traded straight up for Eric Chavez. I like Chavez and I think he'll pick it up, but he's no match for Lee's overall game. Somebody got fleeced.
Ben Sheets, Mil, SP
Why he's being dealt: Nervous owners are afraid he won't be the same after a month lay-off. Those trading for him are banking on a return to '04 dominance.
What you're getting: Sheets has been involved in many straight up deals over the past week as he made his return to the mound. Separate deals netted Alfonso Soriano, Ramon Hernandez and Guillermo Mota.
Roger Clemens, Hou, SP
Why he's being dealt: The venerable hurler has been the victim of Houston's low run production and owners are tired of waiting for the hitters to come around. Others are willing to bet that Lance Berkman and company will pick it up.
What you're getting: Straight up deals have seen Clemens moved for Mike Sweeney, Chris Carpenter, Joe Nathan and Dontrelle Willis. In package deals, he's been paired with sluggers such as Carlos Delgado or Manny Ramirez to return another elite hitter such as Albert Pujols or David Ortiz and a hurler such as Jon Lieber or Livan Hernandez.
Jose Mesa, Pit, RP
Why he's being dealt: One of the last remaining closers to not lose his gig or hit the DL, owners loaded at the position are looking to cash in. Buyers of Mesa need the help in their depleted pens.
What you're getting: Mesa has been involved primarily in straight-up deals this past week, including separate moves for the aforementioned Berkman, Sean Casey, Javier Vazquez, Victor Martinez and Bartolo Colon.
Coors Field Factor:
- The Rockies have just begun a marathon homestand which will see them paid visits by the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers.
- On Wednesday, Matt Morris follows Mark Mulder in the rotation for the Cards and puts his 5-0 record on the line. He's been throttled for 15 earned runs in 18 innings at Coors.
- Ken Griffey Jr. visits over the weekend. He's a career .360 hitter in 16 games at Coors with eight homers and 21 RBIs.
- Sean Casey is looking forward to this weekend's journey to Colorado. Casey scorches the ball at Coors, hitting at a .468 clip in 17 games with 14 extra-base hits. In fact, his seven homers at Coors rank as his highest total at a park other than Cincinnati.
- I'll examine the Chicago and Detroit series in next week's edition of Fantasy Baseball This Week.
Matchups to watch:
- After being on the wrong side of a Jake Peavy masterpiece last week, Brandon Webb takes the hill Wednesday against the Mets. He pitched seven scoreless innings and picked up a win in his only previous outing at Shea Stadium.
- Fans in the Bay Area may be seeing one of Barry Zito's last starts with the A's when he faces Tampa Bay on Wednesday night. Fantasy owners have seen enough and are quickly dumping the struggling former Cy Young Award winner to the waiver wire despite a string of decent outings. Unfortunately, the A's don't score enough to put him in the win column and his control continues to betray him. He has posted solid ERA (3.49) and WHIP (1.22) numbers in May, but fantasy managers need more. I'm going to try to hit this one in person.
- Matt Clement takes his perfect 6-0 mark against the division-leading Orioles on Thursday night in Boston. This will be Clement's third game against the Orioles. He won the first outing at Camden Yards, but got roughed up for seven earned runs the last time he faced them.
- With Monday's win, the Cubs have moved above .500. On Thursday, Glendon Rusch looks to extend his streak of solid outings when he faces the NL West-leading Padres and rookie Tim Stauffer. Stauffer has pitched well since being called up and will be key to San Diego's efforts to ward off the rest of the division.
- The White Sox will welcome back Orlando Hernandez from the disabled list for a start Friday against Cleveland (who are somehow now only one game under .500). He'll face Jake Westbrook, who is hoping the offense shows up. He's allowed two or fewer earned runs in his past three starts.
IT'S A FACT
Talk about a workhorse. Despite losing a bid for his eighth win in the ninth inning of Monday's game against Anaheim, Mark Buehrle kept an impressive streak intact. For the 39th straight start, Buehrle lasted at least six full innings.